Huairou hosts booming local business
For Huairou’s state-of-the-art production facility, landing the all-star “The Great Cause of China’s Foundation” is a potent sign of the emerging power of the enormous film base, which opened last August in a suburb north of Beijing.The Huairou facility, the largest of its kind in Asia, covers 131 acres and cost $294 million to build — a lot for China. It provides facilities for all aspects of production and post-production, including 16 soundstages, a digital production studio and a prop/costume warehouse. Its proximity to the capital makes it a serious draw for foreign filmmakers (with easy airport access) and will offer stiff competish to established filming venues such as Hengdian Studios in Zhejiang province. Many big players in the Chinese biz accustomed to dealing with foreign partners have set up offices at Huairou, including Huayi Brothers and Rosem Films. The new facility is having a strong opening year, hosting such projects as “Forever Enthralled” and “A Dream of the Red Chambers.” Revenues in 2008 were 906 million yuan ($132 million). Management forecasts annual production at Huairou of 80 features and 200 series and telepics, with capacity to shoot up to 500 skeins at once. And there is never a shortage of extras — hundreds of area farmers have already made their film debuts at Huairou.